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Understanding Victories at A Glance

January 31 2008 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

You may have noticed the numbered crest on the front of Making Waves. If you’re really aware of Surfrider Foundation’s initiatives you may also know that this is tied to our vision statement “150 coastal victories by 2010”. This is very intentional, very public and very calculated.

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

That phrase is an organizational truism; it speaks to simple need we have to quantify things so we can understand them. Once we understand something we can manage it. This intersects with you, as you are a member of Surfrider Foundation. You are literally an investor in our mission. Thus, I assume you have questions like…

“What is Surfrider Foundation doing with my (membership dollars) investment?”

In my opinion EVERY institution should have a crisp answer to this question. You deserve to know what your investment has enabled. You deserve an understandable ROI (return on investment).

The victory number is an indicator of what Surfrider Foundation has accomplished, it is an ROI.

We wanted to elevate an understandable barometer of our effectiveness to the top of our strategic plan. We did this for ourselves, to have a clear goal to shoot for. We also did this for you, so you can hold us accountable on our ability to reach our goals. The goal is “150 costal victories by 2010.” This brings us to the definition of “coastal victory.”

A ‘Coastal Victory’ is defined as a decision made in favor of the coastal and ocean environment that results in a positive conservation outcome, improves coastal access, or both.

When we sent California Governor Schwarzenegger more than 10,000 emails to illustrate widespread support for Saving Trestles … that wasn’t a victory. That was a milestone, many of which combine to enable a victory. When we won a beach access case in Florida, resulting in net new beach access, that was a clear victory.

The “150 coastal victories by 2010” goal was set on January 1, 2006. It calls for a cadence of 30 victories per year. As you can see from the number on the front of Making Waves we’re slightly ahead of schedule. What you can’t see from that number is how challenging these environmental campaigns were; most lasted longer than a year and some longer than a decade. At any given time our Chapter and Affiliate Network are collectively managing over 100 active environmental and access campaigns around the globe. Some are small and some are massive.

Lastly, no organization is defined by a single number. We have over 50,000 members and yet another 100,000-plus exist as supporters outside of that. Similarly, our 60-plus victories since 1/1/06 only offer a tiny glimpse into our effectiveness and value. We influence culture, we educate children, we sculpt policy decisions, etc. The victory metric is simply one view into this organization; still … it’s an important view.

The victory number illustrates Surfrider Foundation has real, understandable accomplishments.

What we’re saying with our victory number is that we take your investment seriously. We also take the job of communicating our progress seriously. The victory number is a no-nonsense indicator of your return on an investment in Surfrider Foundation. I hope you find it a straightforward tool, letting you know if your investment in this organization was a sound one.
Thank you for your investment in this organization.

For a complete list of victories since 1/1/06

Comprehensive definition of “Coastal Victory”

This was reprinted from the last Making Waves, if you're not getting Making Waves that means your Surfrider membership isn't current. Join here.
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